PSYC4022 Advanced Psychological Assessment

Bachelor Course Unit

PSYC4022 Advanced Psychological Assessment

Duration: One trimester

Level: 4th year (Honours)

Credit points: 4 (out of total of 24 points)

Prerequisites: None

Mode(s) of delivery: On-campus

Core/elective: Core

Unit co-ordinator: Dr Ben Morrison (

Unit description

This unit will provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the steps involved in conducting psychological assessment in a range of settings. It will cover the assessment of children and adults, the importance of obtaining information from a range of sources including interview and formal assessment, the use of test manuals, cultural issues in assessment, working with special populations, and report writing. The unit also covers key ethical issues that psychologists encounter and provides a framework for addressing these. Through practical work, students will become familiar with selected tests that are frequently used by psychologists.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit students should be able to:

  • describe the different methods of gathering information involved in the assessment process
  • understand the information contained in test manuals and appreciate the importance of this information
  • understand the issues related to assessing different populations and the importance of cultural considerations
  • describe in detail specific adult and child assessment instruments including the family of Wechsler tests
  • consider a new psychological test, evaluate its suitability for assessment, and determine whether you would be competent to administer it
  • describe and have a framework for addressing ethical issues facing psychologists
  • demonstrate an ability to prepare a psychological assessment report

Unit Topic Schedule



Week 1

Gathering information from interviews, psychological tests, and observation

Week 2

Test theory, norms, reliability, and validity

Week 3

Test manuals, diagnosis, and intervention

Week 4

Child assessment

Week 5


Week 6

Adult assessment: Intelligence


(No seminar)

Week 7

Neuropsychological assessment

Week 8

Assessment in organisational settings

Week 9

Cultural implications and special populations

Week 10

Ethical issues and report writing

Week 11

Study week (no seminar)

Week 12

Exam (no seminar)

Learning and teaching process

This unit comprises 10 weekly three hour seminars. Students are expected to undertake set reading prior to seminars and be prepared to engage in discussion of the topic as well as presenting information to the seminar group. Group presentations will be a key component of weekly seminars.

Graduate attributes

The material covered in this unit will contribute to the development of the following graduate attributes:

1: Knowledge and understanding of core topics in psychology. These topics include abnormal psychology, biological bases of behaviour, cognition, information processing and language, learning, lifespan developmental psychology, perception, social psychology, and intercultural diversity and indigenous psychology.

2: Research methods in psychology. This attribute covers an understanding of the characteristics of the science of psychology, and the different and varied research methods used by psychologists. It also includes the acquisition of practical skills in laboratory-based research and other methods, the design of studies to address psychological questions, critical analysis, the formulation of testable hypotheses, the choice of an appropriate methodology, the question of reliability and validity and their meanings and operations, the analysis of data, and the writing of reports.

3: Critical thinking skills. This attribute includes the application of scientific method to the study of mental and behavioural problems, the examination of other modes of understanding the world and the development of other world views, and a recognition of the fallacies and the biases that can affect human thinking and analysis.

4: Values, research and professional ethics. This attribute includes the evaluation of the behaviour of psychologists in psychological research and other professional contexts and is in the context of the Australian Psychological Society “Code of Ethics” and the Australian “National Practice Standards for the Mental Health Workforce”. Values and professional ethics must also be understood and evaluated in the context of social ethical principles and ethical conduct in legal, medical and institutional behaviour.

5: Communication skills. Students need to learn how to communicate effectively orally in various settings (group discussion, presentations, both formal and informal) for various purposes. Written communication, in the form of written reports, should be according to professionally accepted formats. In psychology we follow the American Psychological Association structure and formatting conventions.

6: Learning and the application of psychology. This attribute includes the application of knowledge of legislative frameworks and the application of knowledge about laws and conventions in work settings, consumer and carer participation and in the general matter of the conduct of application of psychology. It also considers how there may be variation of legislation across different areas of application.

Students should also be cognizant of the need to sustain independent learning for professional and personal development over their life, in the changing social and cultural practices in society and in the practice and development of the scientific basis of psychology. 

Assessment summary



Word count

Submission Week

Assessment Plan

Students are presented with a case study of an adult or child that might present for assessment.  They are required to identify and justify the assessments they would use, what other information beyond formal assessments they would obtain and from whom, and which professionals they might involve. 

Learning outcomes: a, b, c, d



1250 words



Recommendations Report

Students are presented with the testing outcomes from Assessment 1’s client.  They are required to provide a summary of the findings, comment on the client’s profile in relation to the referral question, provide recommendations for ongoing care and assessment, and detail potential strategies for assistance in the client’s daily life.

Learning outcomes: a, b, c, d


1000 words

Week 10

In-Class Presentation

Students will work in groups and report on a topic within the domain of psychological assessment (N.B., Topic assigned by lecturer).

Learning outcomes: a, f


10 minutes per group



The examination is a combination of multiple-choice questions and short answers covering the unit curriculum including material presented in lectures/seminars and in prescribed reading

Learning outcomes: a, b, c, d, e, f, g


Multiple choice and short answers under examination conditions.



Special provisions

Attendance at seminars is required.

Recommended textbook

Cohen, R. J., & Swerdlik, M. E. (2009). Psychological testing and assessment (7th ed.). Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill.

Groth-Marnat, G. (2009). Handbook of psychological assessment (5th ed.) Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Other significant references

Australian Psychological Society. (2007). Code of ethics. Retrieved from

Australian Psychological Society. (2008). Ethical guidelines complementing the APS code of ethics (8th ed.).Melbourne, Australia: Author.

Bersoff, D. N. (2008). Ethical conflicts in psychology (4th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Kaufman, A. S., & Lichtenberger, E. O. (2006). Assessing adolescent and adult intelligence (3rd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Lichtenberger, E. O., Mather, N., Kaufman, N. L., & Kaufman, A. S. (2004). Essentials of assessment report writing. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.

Sattler, J. M. (2008). Assessment of children: Cognitive foundations (5th ed.). San Diego, CA: Jerome M. Sattler.

Relevant journals and resources

Readings will be made available for class discussion throughout the trimester. Students are also expected to make use of the library eResources to follow up on specific topics in journals.

Academic misconduct

Ethical conduct and academic integrity and honesty are fundamental to the mission of ACAP. Academic misconduct will not be tolerated by the college. This includes plagiarism of any nature. It is your responsibility to make sure that you understand what constitutes plagiarism in order to ensure that you do not engage in it. Please refer to  for full details of the Academic Misconduct Policy.


This unit plan may be updated and amended from time to time. To ensure you have the correct outline please check it throughout the trimester. Your lecturer will advise when there are updates on the site and also when readings are available for class discussion.